Get your greens on for St. Patrick’s Day

Written by gmathers

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s time to get your green on—on your plate, that is! Skip the factory-farm produced corned beef and bangers—and instead indulge in some animal-friendly Irish recipes that will satisfy even the hungriest of bar-hopping brogues.

One of my favorites is Colcannon (pronounced “col-can-non”). The name originated from “cal ceann fhionn,” meaning white-headed cabbage, and was traditionally eaten during Hallowe’en as a part of a meat-free fast. Now associated with St. Patrick’s Day, this mix of mashed potatoes and cabbage was as much dinner entertainment as it was, well, dinner. Small, wrapped, metal charms were hidden throughout the dish, and your selection revealed your future: Find a silver sixpence? That indicated wealth. A horseshoe? That signaled luck. A thimble signified spinsterhood, a button meant bachelorhood, and a ring—marriage was on its way!

And while there was no charm for health, Colcannon’s green cabbage or kale are excellent sources of vitamin C and calcium, and the potatoes boast zinc, magnesium, and potassium (remember to buy organic and avoid peeling the skins where most nutrients are found).

Colcannon: Serves 2-3St. Patrick's Day

  • 1lb (about 3 large) golden potatoes, cubed
  • 1 small bunch curly kale or cabbage, shredded
  • soy or other non-dairy milk (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Place potatoes in boiling water, and cook until they mash easily under a fork. Add a little non-dairy milk or cooking water if they appear dry.
  2.  Heat some oil in a medium frying pan; add onions and cook for a minute. Add shredded kale and cover. Stir occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the onions and kale to the mashed potatoes, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Heat remaining oil or vegan butter in the pan. When very hot, move the potato mixture to the pan and spread. Fry until brown then cut roughly into pieces and flip, cooking the other side.
  5. Serve in bowls with dabs of vegan butter.

I like to serve Colcannon with a side of Baked Courgettes, or zucchini as we know them stateside. Low in calories but high in antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and potassium, these veggies are best topped with a bit of vegan cheese and served hot out of the oven—they’ll be just juicy enough and still have that perfect crunch.

Baked Courgettes: Serves 4St. Patrick's Day

  • 4 small courgettes (zucchini)
  • 2 tbsp vegan cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter such as Earth Balance
  • Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice the courgettes in half, lengthways, and place inside a baking dish, cut side up.
  3. Rub a bit of vegan butter on the cut side of the courgette, and add a line of nutritional yeast to each piece. Sprinkle with cheese and dust with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

For more ideas for your festive feast, visit VegRecipes.org. And for a list of vegan ales, check out our friends at Barnivore. Sláinte!